Snag List

It has been over a month since my last post, and even that was brief. This hints that I’m rather busy, although I have blogged three whole times over at Strange Bedfellows, so it is more a case of neglect on this side.

The thing that I’ve been busiest with in the past three weeks is getting a more advanced draft of my first chapter to my supervisor (I should add this isn’t the first draft of a first chapter, it is a later draft of the chapter which will come first). It needed restructuring, some re-ordering, more links made to the rest of the thesis shape, and I’ve supplemented all that with some surprisingly (for me) high theory. It has Derrida in the first paragraph. Serious stuff, you know. That chapter was sent off for feedback today, and the whole process starts again with chapter two soon. Once I catch up with the other things I’ve been ignoring lately (including work stuff, exercise, leaving the house and washing dishes).

The graduate community in my college have just received a very nice new graduate centre. It is very nice. Like multi-million-pound nice. It feels like a real privilege to have access to such amazing facilities. Access, this week, has been something of a problem though. The card readers which lock the doors weren’t working yet, so instead of 24/7 access it has been locked at night for security. This is top of the builders’s snag list.

Yes, snag list, a term for all the odds and ends that need fixing before the builders hang up their hard hats. I’ve taken quite a liking to the term, since it quite succinctly sums up all the tidying up that needs to be done to a thesis in your third year. Some snags are bigger than others – like, faulty door locks and major theoretical misunderstanding. Others are more minor, like a paint job, or making paragraph links more sensible. There are plenty more snags to be encountered in the coming months, but as long as I don’t have to completely relay the foundations I think I’ll make it.

And now, some pictures of said graduate centre (via Wadham Alumni on Flickr).


A rare visit

After my PhD angst about how empty college is in the vacation, I’m feeling a bit more positive about the absence of undergraduates after a visit to my college library this week. I don’t tend to use it because most of the texts I need are too specialized but also because during the term time it is hiving and as a result can be quite noisy. Most days this week I’ve had the whole library all to myself, and it was quite pleasant.

While searching for photos of the library I came across these on Flickr. They were taken in 1971 and 1977, but the interior hasn’t changed a bit and I love the effect their age conveys – plus the emptiness.

GKC/COOX/2/5/3 Wadham College, University of Oxford, 1971 & 1977


GKC/COOX/S/1 Wadham College, University of Oxford, 1971 & 1977

Missing, though, are the piles of unclaimed (finalists?) notes that currently line the walls.

I’m currently preparing a conference paper for the Autumn – and by the time I give it I’m sure the rest of college will be back and in the college library. So I best make use of it while I can…


I’m demonstrating a peculiarly British tendency this week since my work has been disrupted by snow. I had a meeting in Nottingham yesterday evening with the Theatre Writing Partnership (I’m on the board, not a theatre writer), and found it a fairly terrifying drive there and back. So bad that I stopped in Leicester, so I didn’t get back here until early afternoon. I missed a computer class on Endnote, which is really annoying.

My MA annotated dissertation was waiting in the post box when I got back. The examiner thought the latter two chapters were the strongest, which goes to show that I know nothing since I thought three was the weakest. I aim to take the research I’ve already done for this and make it into a journal article, but this term getting the thesis started must come first.

Last week ended with the Wadham graduate advisee dinner and this week with the college Christmas dinner. I feel like a turkey they are fattening up. I know they say Christmas comes earlier every year, but the 8 week terms here mean that the halls are already ringing manically with carols.

Contemporary Canon = Anthologies?

So, I’m starting to settle into research here now, but not before dressing up for the matriculation ceremony.

Wadham Graduate Freshers 2010


Funny gowns aside, I’m doing some research training through the English Faculty and the Humanities Division, and I’ve agreed a deadline for my first bits of work with my supervisor. I’m starting by looking at female absence in Northern Irish poetry pre-1995, which allows me to look at the verse both literally in terms of the number of women publishing and how women were publishing and the themes of the canonical/anthologised verse. Pre-1995 work is a little out of my comfort zone, but it is still important.

I spent the weekend at the University of Leicester – my former home – at a PG Contemporary Women’s Writing Network event. I’ve just joined the steering group, so I can’t take any credit for the excellent ‘Theory and Practice in Women’s Writing Event’. The focus on feminist and queer theory combined with workshops on teaching and publication was a refreshing change from the usual conference panel structure.

The New Chapter (and thesis)

I’ve arrived in Oxford, and I’m settling in to life in the city and in my college, Wadham. My first week was a tumble of inductions and MCR events – but I’m preparing tonight for my first proper day of research tomorrow.


I’m spoiled here for the use of books since the Bodleian has copyright status and therefore has most of what I could ever desire. I haven’t found the correct door to enter this land of bibliophilic dreams, yet.

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